Critical pathway in jeopardy

The pathway linked between Beachlands residential area and Pine Harbour is in trouble

A critical pathway link between Beachlands South East residential area and Pine Harbour Marina has been placed in peril by a proposed housing development project.

The Pohutukawa Coast Trails Committee is supported by the Rotary Club of Pohutukawa Coast and was formed four years ago.

Its founding document was an “aspirational plan” which was supported by the Franklin Local Board with input from the local community.

Peter Webster, a member of the committee, says the plan is to develop trails in Beachlands, Maraetai and Whitford.

“It was a big document with all the paths on it,” Webster says. “It was sanctioned by Auckland Council.”

Recently the committee has been making progress.

“The plan is turning into reality,” Webster says.

The committee has been assisted by the Walking Access Commission (WAC), a crown entity that helps establish public access to the outdoors.

“They assist with getting public walkways through private property,” Webster says, “including waterfront esplanade reserves.”

The pathways, Webster says, are incredibly important to the community.

They provide access for pedestrians, prams, bikes, scooters and occasionally horses and are popular with the locals.

“The community really support these,” Webster says.

Years ago the committee planned, with council approval, to “link an existing pathway to the rest of the pathways leading through the residential area to the South East of Beachlands”.

The pre-existing pathway leads from the West Quarter apartments to a dead end.

Some 150 metres of pathway or boardwalk would connect the pre-existing one and extend it to other pre-exiting pathways.

In this way the link between Pine Harbour and the residential area would be made.

However the link will be on land that a housing developer wishes to use for development.

Webster has created a petition for the Pohutukawa Coast Trails Committee to convey to the Council the extent of support for the link.

“We hope the petition will get the council to ensure the link will be made,” Webster says.

Hundreds would be using the pathway to have a quiet and safe commute to the ferries.

It will be used extensively by cyclists, pedestrians and families when it is connected, Webster says.

“If the council wants people out of their cars,” he says, “then this will help it as it will allow a safe passage for electric scooters and bikes.”

An expert engineering witness has told Webster that there can be no construction work on the overland flood path where the pathway is meant to be.

This means that if Mike Greer Homes, the development company, follow engineering requirements then they cannot build on the overland flood path.

“The council has been sent this information,” Webster says. “Hopefully they will realise that there has been an error or an oversight and it will be rectified.”

Additionally the engineering witness can be called upon professionally if needed.

“I’m currently in dialogue with the council,” Webster says.

Mike Greer Homes has been approached for comment.